Reviewed date: 2009 Jun 22
Wyrms reminds me of another early Card novel: Treason. Both stories can claim a science fiction explanation, but the form and style of the stories are pure fantasy. Our dear Uncle Orson writes just as well in one genre as another, so the story is still compelling.
Wyrms is a fantasy quest novel. Our young heroine Patience is the daughter of the true Heptarch, and is the rightful heir to the throne of the planet Imakulata. When the usurper threatens her life, Patience escapes and undertakes a journey to meet the Unwyrm in the city of Cranning.
Of course when the book starts, we don't know what the Unwyrm is, and we don't know the significance of Cranning. But it's a fantasy quest nonetheless. Patience picks up a remarkable crew of sidekicks. Not just humans, but geblings, dwelfs, and gaunts as well. There's scientific explanation offered for the existence of these vaguely human creatures, but we might as well accept them as standard fantasy characters.
The goal of the quest turns out to be the destruction of the Unwyrm, thereby saving the entire human race--as well as geblings, dwelfs, and gaunts. The Unwyrm seeks to impregnate Patience with the spawn of a new, improved "human" race. By the time Patience arrives to do battle with the Unwyrm, she is nearly completely in his mental power, and only with the help of her fellow questers is she able to defeat him.
I'm not doing Wyrms justice though. It's a compelling book, even if it follows a well-used fantasy plot. I read it quickly and eagerly. Not a great book, but definitely fun to read.